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EPF’s equity investment grows

Jan 5 (ST) SL’s largest social security scheme, the EPF's listed equity investments are now generating growth in market value although there was an unrealised loss in equity investment, analysts divulged. Market values of investments made by the fund are increasing proportionate to purchased cost of shares in listed equities in the third quarter this year, they said. The investment policy of the fund is focused on providing a long-term positive real rate of return to the members, more..

Role model for aspiring youngsters in North

Jan 5 (ST) Cricket in SL is something beyond sport. It plays a vital role in bringing people together as a nation. Despite the country being in strife for nearly three decades as a consequence of the civil war, their passion towards the sport was not affected. We have heard numerous stories where youngsters have been able to break barriers in life and go on to perform on the world stage. Here is the story of Sebastianpillai Vijayaraj, a gritty youngster who has emerged from the town of Kilinochchi more..

Scandal-ridden PNB participates in major SLN-led operation involving int’l services

Jan 5 (Island) Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), which has been under investigation for dealing in narcotics, took part in a combined operation that led to the capture of a multi-day trawler carrying 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine (ICE) and about 80 kilos of Hashish yesterday. Navy took four persons identified as residents of Thoduwawa in the Chilaw area into custody. Navy headquarters estimated more..

Video: SL have slight advantage heading into England series: James Anderson

Jan 5 (CI) James Anderson believes Sri Lanka may have a slight advantage going into their Test series against England later this month. With Sri Lanka playing a two-Test series in South Africa and England's red-ball specialists having not played since August, Anderson accepts his side's preparation for this series is not ideal. Instead of the period of acclimatisation which would normally precede such a series, England have had to content themselves with preparing in a large marquee more..

Weerakkody speaks on Amasha’s prospects and sharing coaching knowledge

Jan 5 (Island) Sprint coach Sanjeewa Weerakkody who trained Amasha de Silva to clock 11.55 seconds in the women’s 100 metrres at the last week’s National Athletics Championship believes that a culture of sharing knowledge among local coaches should be promoted to bring the best out of track and field athletes. While stressing on the importance of insisting on local knowledge, Weerakkody reckoned that obtaining foreign expertise to fine tune coaching knowledge through workshops more..

Professionals who opened LCs before import ban want their vehicles

Jan 5 (FT) A group of professionals with letters of credit established before the ban on vehicle imports using concessionary permits with foreign suppliers is calling on the Govt to allow shipping of these motor vehicles. The group under the name Group of Affected Professionals Established L/Cs before 19 March 2020 consists of more than 300 members including doctors, engineers, lecturers, accountants and other Govt executives who have opened more..

Wijeyadasa to propose fine hike for illicit cigarettes

Jan 5 (TM) SLPP MP Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe plans to table a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament, proposing an increase in the fine imposed on illegally imported cigarettes of up to three times the value of such smuggled stocks. According to the existing laws, the maximum fine that can be imposed for importing cigarettes illegally is Rs. 800,000, irrespective of the number of cigarettes imported, he said, adding that illegal importation of cigarettes is a highly profitable racket. more..

Man leaves for Dubai despite testing COVID-19 positive

Jan 5 (AD) A man from the Ederamulla area had left for Dubai via BIA on Dec 29 despite testing positive for COVID-19. On Dec 24, he had gotten a PCR test done on him from a private which had indicated him to be positive for the virus infection. However, he had gotten another PCR test done at a different private hospital which had come out as negative. Subsequently, the Office of Mahara Medical Officer of Health (MOH) had subjected him to yet another PCR test for the COVID-19 infection. more..

Govt allocates 12 hotspots for visiting tourists despite COVID

Jan 5 (FT) Govt introduced 12 hotspots for foreign travellers to visits during their stay in the country, whilst directing officials to strictly adhere to the health and safety protocols outlined. Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga in a special meeting yesterday directed officials to take immediate action to prevent a recurrence of the situation that has arisen due to Ukrainian tourists visiting the Yala National Park and more..

5000 housing units for middle-income families: First Phase commences

Jan 5 (DN) As per the instructions of Prez Rajapaksa and Minister of Urban Development and Housing PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, 5000 housing units are to be constructed for middle-income families under President’s National Policy Framework, Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour the Vision of Prosperity. The first phase of constructing 3000 out of 5000 housing units commenced at Orugodawatta yesterday. Construction of 3000 housing units is in operation and more..

Investor sentiment improves in the wake of CBSL statement

Jan 5 (Island) CSE investor sentiment had improved yesterday following the CB Governor’s 2021 economic policy proposal for SL. It states, among other things, that establishing a permanent single digit interest rate structure, controlling inflation and increasing foreign reserves in the country are priorities, market analysts said. CB Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman delivering a 2021 policy roadmap through a virtual address said that new economic initiative would improve economic growth. more..

No acquisition of state sector institutions by military: Defence Secretary

Jan 5 (MoD) Defence Secretary Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the driving license printing project taken over by the Army was a temporary measure following a cabinet decision to save state funds. Responding to the media he said, “There is no acquisition of state sector institutions by the military as said”. Further elaborating the process, he said, “The other formalities of the Motor Traffic Dept’s system remain unchanged more..

Parliament set to approve tax concessions for CIFC this week

Jan 5 (FT) Parliament is set to approve several regulations under the Strategic Development Projects Act on Thursday to grant a wide range of concessions for the Colombo Int'l Financial Centre Mixed Development Project at the Colombo Port City. The tax exemptions will be for the construction of the first of five vertical iconic towers at Colombo Port City, the Cabinet approval for which was granted in Oct 2020. The relevant regulations will be presented to Parliament by PM Rajapaksa more..

ETI depositors hand over grievance letter to AG

Jan 5 (CT) ETI depositors handed over a document containing their grievances to AG Dappula de Livera yesterday, after arriving at the AG’s Department in a peaceful protest march, which commenced from the Technical Junction, Colombo. Chairperson of the Society for the Protection of ETI Depositors, Anusha Jayanthi said that to date no justice has been meted out although a PCoI was formed by the President based on recommendations to probe wrongdoings done to the depositors. more..

Private sector fully backs tourism resumption via pilot project

Jan 5 (FT) Private sector yesterday welcomed the resumption of tourism via the pilot project with Ukrainian tourists, whilst urging greater adherence to COVID-19 guidelines. In a rare show of unity, all industry bodies at a joint media briefing expressed their fullest support to the post-COVID tourism resumption with the necessary health and safety guidelines. “We are thankful for the Govt for opening up the tourism industry first with more..

Rathana Thera to be sworn in as AJP MP today

Jan 5 (CT) Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera will be sworn in as a MP today, said Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake. Rathana Thera was nominated to the National List from the Ape Janabala Party at the General Election 2020, National Election Commission stated in a Gazette Notification. Rathana Thera was first elected to Parliament from the Kalutara District in 2004, representing the JHU. He was elected to the 7th Parliament from the UPFA in 2010, more..

Legal dilemma over PC Polls

Jan 5 (DN) Provincial Council elections cannot be held until the Provincial Council Elections Act is passed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament, Minister G.L. Peiris said. “The Yahapalana Govt abolished the PC elections system. The reason was that they knew that if a PC election was held they would be utterly defeated. As a solution to this they decided not to hold PC elections. Therefore, the existing law was abolished but the abolished law was not replaced by another law,” he added. more..

Total COVID-19 patient count exceeds 45,000

Jan 5 (FT) The total number of persons to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the island yesterday crossed the 45,000 mark with the detection of 468 patients within the day. 451 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster and 16 persons linked to the Prisons cluster yesterday tested positive for the virus. This brings the total number of patients linked to the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda and Prisons clusters to 41,498. more..

BIA Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory completes 100,000 PCR tests in five months

Jan 5 (DN) Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory established in view of diagnosing the COVID-19 affected passengers arriving in Sri Lanka at BIA completed 10,0000 PCR tests within five months since its inception on July 9, 2020. The laboratory was established at the airport premises in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to meet the increasing demand for PCR testing facilities. In recognition of the tremendous service and the dedication of the medical practitioners and more..

Immunity, better way to defeat COVID-19: Dr. Padeniya

Jan 5 (DN) Maintaining a strong immune system is the better way for protection from COVID-19 or any other communicable disease rather than relying on a vaccine, GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya asserted. He made the above assertion delivering a lecture on the topic of “ A Country free of poison and waking up tomorrow” organized jointly by the Galle District Professionals’ Association and Siyathma Organization at Mudalige Reception Hall in Pilana Galle on Sunday. more..

CB pledges to stick to single digit interest rates

Jan 5 (FT) Given the economic recovery Sri Lanka has before it in 2021, the Central Bank yesterday pledged to continue its accommodative monetary policy stance, establish a single digit interest rate and push private sector credit to expand 14% despite an estimated 3.9% growth contraction last year. Delivering the Road Map 2021: Monetary and Financial Sector Policies for 2021 and Beyond, CB Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman more..

Covid-19 death toll mounts to 215 with two more deaths

Jan 5 (AD) SL’s fatality count from COVID-19 has risen with 02 more deaths caused by the virus. Two men, both residents of Ratnapura, have succumbed to the virus pushing the COVID-19 death count to 215. A 71-year-old man had passed away at the Ratnapura Teaching Hospital on Jan 2. The cause of his death has been determined as a respiratory infection caused by COVID-19 and a complication of a lung infection. Other victim is a 86 year old male who had succumbed to COVID-19 related more..

Commercial flights to get green light

Jan 5 (DM) Commercial flights will be given the green light to operate to Sri Lanka soon, a Tourism Advisory Committee said yesterday. Committee Chairman Hiran Cooray said that commercial flights will most likely be given clearance to operate to Sri Lanka from later this month. He said that as of the end of October, 152 countries were open for tourism while Sri Lanka was closed. Cooray said that Sri Lanka remained closed despite managing the spread of the coronavirus very well. more..

Row over Ukranian tourists deepens

Jan 5 (Island) Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday intervened in a simmering dispute over those handling high profile Ukrainian tourists ignoring the health regulations in place to prevent possible community transmission of COVID-19. Soon after the arrival of two groups of Ukrainians, on Dec 28 and 29, 2020, three of those visitors tested Covid-19 positive. Yesterday, a member of the visiting England cricket team more..

SL needs confidence boost to lift it out of morass; time for a national approach...

Jan 21 (FT) The year 2020 ended with the COVID pandemic raging unabated, not just in SL but throughout the world and bringing down the world as we all knew it. Economies of countries from the superrich to the very poor have all crumbled and health services are bursting at the seams. Education has been disrupted and so has the functioning of society as we knew it. Confidence in governance models, particularly democratic models is shattering as a consequence of the Trump led attack on more..

Colombo South Harbour: East Container Terminal operation should be by SLPA

Jan 21 (FT) East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port has again come into the limelight after the previous trade union action by the Port Unions paralysed the Port prior to the General Elections earlier this year. As there is no definitive direction for the future of ECT even today, further discussions are emerging. Colombo Port earned the hub port status in the South Asian region primarily due to its strategic location equally supported by factors like timely enhancement of port capacity, more..

අපේම ජ්‍යෙෂ්ඨ වෛරස් රෝග විශේෂඥයන්ගෙන්...

Suspect arrested for vandalizing Buddha statue in Mawanella

Jan 5 (NR) A suspect has been arrested for allegedly damaging the glass covering of a Buddha statue along the Colombo-Kandy Road in Hingula within the Mawanella Police division. DIG Ajith Rohana said the suspect is a 30-year-old resident of Hettimulla, Kegalle and has been identified as a drug addict. The DIG noted the suspect had visited the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital to receive treatment and had caused damages to the glass covering of the statue during his return. more..

Video: Athuraliye Rathana Thero sworn in as an MP

Jan 5 (AD) Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero has been sworn in as a MP before Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena this morning. The first sitting of the ninth Parliament for the year 2021 commenced at 10 am today. Rathana Thero was appointed by the Ape Jana Bala Pakshaya, also known as Our Power of People Party (OPPP) on Dec 18 last year, to fill its National List parliamentary seat which was left vacant for several months. Relevant gazette notification, issued by more..

Video: Body of abducted Buddhist monk found in cemetery

Jan 5 (AD) Police have found the body of the Buddhist monk who was abducted while at the Koswatta Kodikanda Arannya Senasanaya. Uduwila Dhammasiri Thero, 65, of Thummodara Koswatta Kodikanda Arannya Senasanaya in Hanwella was abducted by a group on the night of Dec 2. DIG Ajith Rohana said that the body of the Thero was found yesterday at the cemetery in Navana, Kotadeniyawa. more..

Video: PCR or rapid antigen tests on people not wearing face masks in public

Jan 5 (AD) People who fail to wear a face mask in public will be subjected to rapid antigen tests or PCR tests from today, DIG Ajith Rohana noted that legal action will also be sought against people who do not wear a face mask in public. The decision was taken as these people are at risk of being exposed to coronavirus transmission and they pose a risk to other individuals as well, he explained. Meanwhile, carrying out random rapid antigen tests at fish stalls in Western Province will continue further, more..

Sri Lanka should start fund to bring back stranded workers: legislator

Jan 5 (EN) Sri Lanka should start a fund to bring back stranded foreign workers, as some are reportedly being forced into prostitution, opposition legislator Harsha de Silva said. “These are our sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers,” De Silva told parliament. “We can make a start in this parliament and set up a contributory fund to bring these people back.” He had heard that some workers from the UAE had returned from contributors made by some philanthropists. more..

Cabinet nods for Sri Lanka to receive COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX

Jan 5 (AD) Cabinet approves a proposal to enter into agreements with COVID-19 vaccine producers under the COVAX facility. COVAX facility is a global initiative that brings together govts and manufacturers to ensure equal distribution among the countries, subsequently to the manufacturing of secure and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Through this facility, the production and development of the vaccines for COVID-19 more..

Video: Sri Lanka to receive COVID-19 vaccine before April New Year

Jan 5 (AD) The first vaccine for COVID-19 could be given to people in Sri Lanka before the upcoming Sinhala and Hindu New Year, says Chief Adviser to the Prez Lalith Weeratunga. He stated that the discussions for this are currently at the final stage. “I may be able to tell exactly on a future date. Given the current situation, it can be said that this could commence at least at the end of February or the first week of March. Definitely before the Sinhala and Hindu New Year” more..

How Ratnapura hospital coped in the absence of PCR machine revealed

Jan 5 (Island) Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi revealed that for want of a PCR machine, the Ratnapura hospital had depended on equipment at the Tea Research Center for Low Country region and the Sabaragamuwa University since March 2020. The revelation was made at the handing over of a PCR machine to the Ratnapura hospital. It was revealed that State owned banks and several other public and private enterprises had provided funding to the tune of Rs 5 mn to more..

South Africa seal victory and 2-0 series win despite Dimuth's battling hundred

Jan 5 (CI) Any momentum Sri Lanka had gained on day two, they squandered within the first 90 minutes of day three, losing their last six wickets for 35 runs as South Africa's quicks hunted relentlessly. Very briefly, there was the joy of Dimuth Karunaratne getting to his first hundred in South Africa, but this soon gave away to despair. Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla each produced menacing spells to ensure more..

COPE to summon 5 govt institutions in Jan.

Jan 5 (AD) The COPE is scheduled to summon five govt institutions in January, its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath stated. Accordingly, Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship fund, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, and Coconut Development Authority are to be summoned before the COPE. Prof. Charitha Herath further stated that arrangements have been made to hold meetings on January 06, 08, 19, 21, and 22 in accordance with the COVID-19 health guidelines. more..

500 German tourists to visit Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (DM) Around 500 German tourists are scheduled to arrive in the country this month under the pilot project initiated in preparation for opening up the country for tourism at the end of this month. Tourism Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi said it had been planned to bring more than 2,000 tourists from Ukraine alone, and 500 of them had already landed in the country. He said govt would proceed with the programme despite initial shortcomings in adherence to health guidelines. more..

Sri Lanka will commence exporting smart meters this year: Minister Alahapperuma

Jan 5 (Island) Sri Lanka should be able to dream and realise her dreams; and in so doing, she faced many social and economic challenges, Power and Energy Minister Dullas Alahapperuma yesterday said when he visited Ante LECO Suhuru Manu factory in Bandaragama. Ante LECO Metering Company is a subsidiary of LECO, where 70% of the shares are owned by LECO and 30% by Ante Meter Company of China. more..

Minister calls for report on destruction of trees

Jan 5 (Island) Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to submit a report on the recent destruction of 28 trees at the Rajapihilla Park in Kurunegala. Earlier, a large number of environmental organisations wrote to the Minister in this regard, urging him to act fast against the culprits. This prompted Amaraweera to inquire whether the CEA or its district officials had a hand in feeling trees which were hundreds of yrs old. more..